When you first find out about a licensing complaint lodged against you it is typically through the mail when the licensing board sends you a notice and a deadline by which you must respond. Receiving this letter can be shocking. You worked hard to earn you professional license and you work hard in your career. A complaint puts all you’ve worked for at risk.
We fight aggressively to defend our clients and their livelihoods. Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board. If you are a licensed professional in Texas and have received notice of a complaint lodged against you, contact the Professional License Defense Attorneys of BERTOLINO LLP.
Our firm is passionate about helping license holders defend their professional licenses. The following answers 3 questions our clients often ask us.
- How did this happen?
Learning from a crisis and identifying ways to prevent it in the future are two of the most valuable opportunities we have – if we can seize them.
One way to analyze the problem and find its root causes is by using a “5-Why” analysis. By asking “why?” five times in a row, we can often drill down to the root cause of a problem – and by addressing that root cause, we can resolve every other problem identified during the process.
Here’s how the “5-Why” analysis might work in a hypothetical license challenge scenario: Imagine that a physician is facing a license challenge due to significant errors in charting that led to the physician prescribing a medication to which the patient was known to be severely allergic. Our hypothetical physician begins by identifying a symptom of the problem: I failed to note that the patient was severely allergic to this medication, even when the patient told me.
Then, our hypothetical physician asks:
- “Why?” I was thinking about some lab tests I had ordered for another patient.
- “Why?” I was worried that the results would come back inconclusive or untrustworthy.
- “Why?” Our lab equipment is outdated, and I’m not sure the new staff members have the training they need to operate it correctly.
- “Why?” We have been trying to use that equipment long enough to “get our money’s worth,” because we’re worried that sending out tests to other labs (like the one at the local hospital) will be expensive and time-consuming.
- “Why?” Now that I think about it, we don’t really know what the process is for sending out our labs. We’ve just assumed it’s a hassle, and we haven’t made it a priority to find out whether that’s true.
After the fifth time asking “why?,” our hypothetical physician has discovered the root cause of the problem: she and her partners in their medical practice do not know what their options are for improving the quality of lab results. This is a problem that can be addressed.
Further, by addressing this issue, our physician and her fellow doctors also address the other symptoms identified: they do not have to rely on outdated equipment; they do not need to worry about the training their staff have on running the tests; and they have one less thing to distract them from paying attention to each patient and their needs.
While a “5-Why?” analysis may not fend off a license investigation you are already facing, it can help you prevent yourself and those you work with from making the same or a similar mistake twice. It can also demonstrate a proactive good-faith effort to understand and improve the situation. It can also be used as a “mitigating factor” when the boards are considering sanctions against a professional’s license.
- How do I delegate to others at work in a professional, effective, and efficient way?
In some cases, a pending licensing complaint may necessitate delegation of certain tasks to colleagues and/or employees. If you are forced to delegate due to a license challenge, you may feel somewhat “adrift” as parts of your job suddenly become off-limits. We encourage you to focus your energy on the tasks you can still do, including preparing to defend your license vigorously.
Here are some best-practices to follow when delegating job duties:
- Choose the right person for the task. Make your first choice for every task the person who is best equipped to handle it. Have a second choice in mind as well. Delegating thoughtfully helps ensure that your patients or clients receive the quality care and service they need.
- Give them all the information. Ensure the person who agrees to take on the task has the information they need to do it. This may mean providing patient or client names, handing over charts or files, and making written notes to describe where you were in the process of assisting a particular patient or client when you were interrupted, and what is left to complete.
- Resist the urge to micromanage once you have handed off the task and the necessary information.
- What happens if the “worst case scenario” occurs?
When your professional license is under attack, your career and livelihood are under attack. With so much at stake, concern over the “worst case scenario” is one of the most common fears we address on a daily basis.
Together we will address you concerns head-on. When we do look at it, the process can be surprisingly transformative. The truth is, understanding the worst possible outcome can rebuild your sense of control, suggest effective ways for avoiding the worst, and help you clarify and reach your goals.
Here’s the approach that we recommend:
Make a list that addresses the omnipresent question: “What is the worst thing that could happen?” Then, list the possibilities. The worst-case outcomes are heavily dependent on your circumstances and the specific facts of the complaint against you.
For many professionals facing license challenges, the worst-case scenario possibilities may include:
- I will lose my license and not be able to practice anymore.
- I will lose my job.
- I will lose my business.
- I will lose my career and have to pay steep fines.
- I will not be able to support my family.
Next, for each possibility, imagine yourself in that situation. Picture what you will do then. This may feel frightening at first, but it will help you visualize the ways in which you could and would handle it if the worst occurred.
For instance, if your worst-case scenario is I will lose my license and career, imagine yourself having already lost it. While it would be difficult, you would still have options―which might include getting a different job in your field, going back to school, or moving into a different field in which similar skills are called for.
The more options you can picture for each “worst case scenario” on your list, the more opportunities you give yourself and the more your sense of control over the situation grows. And if the worst doesn’t happen – and, often, it does not (particularly within my law practice when defending a client) – you can feel confident knowing that you have your life under control either way.
Hire the Experienced License Defense Attorneys of BERTOLINO LLP
If you have been notified of a complaint filed against you with a licensing board, agency, or commission in Texas, BERTOLINO LLP can help. Our Firm believes that immediately consulting an experienced license defense attorney to review allegations of misconduct helps ensure the most favorable outcome in your case.
We know how to navigate the complaint process against any professional, medical, or vocational license. We know how to build a persuasive case to protect your license – and your livelihood. Our results speak for themselves.
If your professional license is at risk of suspension or revocation, BERTOLINO LLP can help. We represent licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. Our honest, experienced attorneys will fight aggressively on behalf of your license and reputation. Contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 and schedule a case evaluation.